[CQ-Contest] Running the pile

Charles Harpole hs0zcw at gmail.com
Mon Dec 3 22:27:01 EST 2012

As HS0ZCW, I run pile ups of 8 to 10 callers at once, often more, any day I
am on the air and prop. is good.  Altho HS is not really rare, I have a
huge sig into EU and the ops there will call me out of boredom and the
challenge to get through.  So I have run pile ups about two per week for
over five years.  I have also run from when 9N was really rare and from
VU4, XW, and A5.  All single op, no team.

 In contests with " no split" the nearly manditory practice, go to call by
numbers* in desperation on one freq.

Small pile up............ Try to use only one freq of the band.  As the
callers increase, call by numbers as per noted below,* but usually this is
needed only for a short time, even if the opening is two hours or less.

Medium pile up............  Go to split if it becomes obvious ops are still
calling when you are answering (I know that will happen in split, too, but
less problem).  As the group of callers increases, call by numbers as noted

Huge pile up.........  Split with a range of listening frequencies.
Definitely call by numbers as per noted below.*

*How to call by numbers......Call for one zero, work a Zero.  Call next for
a One, work one One.  Call next for a Two, work one Two.  Call for a Three,
work one Three.  Keep this pattern strickly, the pile up gets it, and
things go wonderfully well because the pattern leaves no doubt when and
what I will call and it reduces callers' frustration because they get to
call to me every 9 stations worked.  Some DX ops will work an UNDETERMINED
number of Threes, for example, so Sevens either go crazy waiting (and may
start intentional QRM) or they go have lunch only to come back to hear the
DX now calling for Eights!  Instead, this method of calling by numbers
eliminates shorting any one geographic area, usually, and a few ANNOUNCED
breaks for calling directional CQs can compensate for under served
geographical areas anyway.

Personally, I try to avoid calling for only one geographic region except in
cases where, for example, EU is strong and NA is definitely readable but
lower so I call for "NA only" for 5 or 10 min. at a time, time announced.
 I try not to forget to call for "the rest of the world" or for "not EU"
about every 15 minutes for a few minutes, if productive.

Someone calling out of turn or wrong region, I will work anyway if he is
much stronger than others because it is easier to work one loud "wrong
caller" that to try to explain to him why he should stand by (usually it is
a problem with language anyway).

When I am calling... pet pieve is when a DX is calling
directional/regional...but not mine... and he is super loud to me, he never
asks for "Asia only" and definitely never for "S.E. Asia only,"  Then, I
just call him until either he gets tired of tuning away from my loud sig
and works me or, worst he calls me and chides me for calling out of turn
and clearly does not log me, grrrrrr.

For me, over all pile up management is to be clear about my op method by
telling what I am doing and sticking to that.  I believe that accuracy,
politeness, and clarity over-shadows rapidity.  I try to repeat the
caller's call sign twice, once to acknowledge him and once when giving him
sig report.  Callers love their call signs and love hearing it to be more
sure of a "good contact"  and reduce "insurance contacts."

I will NEVER punish any op for his infractions or threaten NIL regardless
of what they do because compassion over-shadows everything else.

My seventy-five cents.  73, HS0ZCW

On Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 9:48 PM, Scott Robbins <w4pa at yahoo.com> wrote:

> >Just returned from West Africa Toivo.Your approach works there as well.
> The
> >only difference was, I had to ID every 6 or 7 QSO when pileup was really
> >heavy.There are other methods of pileup management such as turning output
> >power down, increase CW speed and split as the last resort. But most
> >important the operator should be able to sustain rate of 200 +  QSO per
> >hour. If DX op is slow it irritates everybody and attracts CL? much too
> >often.
> >73, Igor UA9CDC
> Also on pileup management - turn the IF SHIFT or PBT control on your rig
> on top of the pile way off to the side of the BW filter.  Once you have an
> effective filter BW of something close to zero you'll hear one or two
> stations at a time even if the pileup is at blizzard level and don't have
> to resort to the RIT.  I've employed this many times, including last
> weekend's CQ WW CW @PJ4D.
> 73
> Scott Robbins
> W4PA
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Charly, HS0ZCW

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